The Beauty Around Us

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Weekend in Hudson, OH

We spent 3 nights September 20 through September 23 in Hudson, OH.  We rented the Hudson Home AirBnB.  The location of this AirBnB was ideal for our activities. We went bicycling on trails in and near Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and we visited the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  A food market and restaurants were within walking distance from our rental.

We were en route Hudson, OH at 7:15 am on Friday, September 20.  We stopped for breakfast in Youngsville, PA at Richard’s Family Restaurant. “That was good; it was enjoyable”, Bob said after breakfast. Bob had a Greek omelet with home fries and toast. I had French toast and bacon.  The service was fast, as we were back on the road at 8:10 am.

We told Google maps to take us to Hudson OH, using an off highway route. From Youngsville Google maps said it was 133 mi 3 hours and 25 minutes to our destination, with an ETA of 11:23 am.  A deer ran across the road in front of us, shortly after leaving the restaurant. If there had been a second deer, it is likely we would have hit that deer.

We arrived in Hudson around 11:45 am. We passed by our AirBnB and drove to Szalay’s in Peninsula for lunch. The  farm market was open; the outdoor eatery was not. We drove back to Hudson.

We ate lunch at Johnny’s Diner, located in Hudson at the Acme Market plaza. This is what the webpage says about Johnny’s Diner:

“Go back in time to the glory days of malt shop diners. Johnny’s Diner is a delicious blend of 50’s style diner and hometown Hudson.”

Johnny’s Diner

Johnny’s Diner

I liked the diner’s 50s ambiance; the service and food was good as well. We didn’t order anything that the diner appears to be noted for i.e., burgers and shakes. We can, though, attest to the fact that the Chef’s Salad and melted tuna sandwich are delicious.

After lunch, we drove to the AirBnB that we rented for 3 nights. The AirBnB is located about 1/4 mile from the Acme Market plaza. We “checked in”, carried in our baggage and got settled in. Checking in involved entering a combination for a lockbox and using the key inside the lockbox to open the front door. Once inside we returned the key to the lockbox. Near the kitchen door was a key to use for the rest of our visit. That key was for the back door, which happens to be the most convenient door to use. Parking is at the back of the house.

Our rental AirBnB – living / dining room

Our rental AirBnB – back yard

Our rental AirBnB – Our host left snacks for us.

Later in the afternoon we walked the quarter of a mile to the Acme Market and purchased a few groceries (mainly breakfast items, beverages and snacks).

We ate dinner at Perkins Restaurant, located in the Acme Market plaza.

This AirBnB does not have a TV. It does, however, have the Internet and a computer monitor. Bob didn’t bring the Fire Stick, as the AirBnB listing said there was no TV. Therefore, Bob assumed that there would be nowhere to plug in the Fire Stick. He could have plugged the Fire Stick into the monitor. We were able to watch Amazon Prime and Hulu, though, by hooking up Bob‘s Surface Pro tablet to the computer monitor.

 

The next day (Saturday, September 21) we ate breakfast at the house from purchases that we made the day before. Then we went for a bicycle ride, which you can read about here.

We ate lunch at Szalay’s Outdoor Eatery. Bob had a polish sausage, and I had a hot dog. For dessert we had fruit sundaes–vanilla soft serve ice cream with pineapple, blueberries, strawberries and bananas.

After lunch we returned to the house, where we stayed until late afternoon.

We ate dinner at Subway in the Acme Market plaza.  I am sure that you can tell that we made good use of the nearby shopping plaza.

After dinner we drove to the Ira Trailhead on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where we went for a short evening bicycle ride.

We returned to the house around 7:30 pm.

 

On Sunday, September 22, we went to the zoo.  We felt that the zoo was a better choice, given the extreme heat, than riding bicycles.

We were en route Cleveland Metroparks Zoo at 9:00 am. We arrived about 50 minutes later. Our tickets were half price because we are members of the Erie Zoo. We visited all seven zoo locations.

I put together a slideshow of some of the zoo animals that we saw during our visit.

Bob put together a short video too.

What a hot day! The car thermometer read 94 degrees, when we returned to the car. We had an enjoyable time at the zoo. Our time there, though, would have been more enjoyable had it been about 20 degrees cooler. The animals may have been more active too.

We departed the zoo at 2:00 pm. We were back at the house by 3:00 pm. We were both whipped, and our feet hurt. Still the day’s activities were better than riding bicycles. At least we were able to find some relief in air conditioned buildings.

 

We departed Hudson at 7:30 am on Monday, September 23. We stopped for breakfast at Bob Evans Restaurant in Streetsboro, OH. We both ordered Classic Breakfast – 2 eggs, 2 pancakes and bacon.  Filling and delicious!

When we left Hudson it was cloudy and a comfortable 68 degrees. It started raining in Conneaut, PA and the rain stayed with us rest of the way home. We returned home around noon.

What a wonderful weekend getaway!

“Where the Mountains Meet the Sea” and More Lighthouses

Today was a long day of sightseeing.

On our way to Camden, we stopped for a delicious and filling breakfast at The Rockport Diner in Rockport, ME.

Leaving Rockport, we drove through Camden to Camden Hills State Park.  We paid an entry fee of $6.00 each to enter the state park. Our goal was to go to the scenic vista on top of Mount Battie.  We had two choices.  We could either hike or drive the Auto Road to the top of Mount Battie.  We chose the driving option.

Mount Battie Stone Tower

The Mount Battie Stone Tower was built in 1921 and recognizes “the services of the men and women of Camden in the World War, 1914-1918”.

From this vantage point magnificent views of Camden Harbor, Penobscot Bay and the surrounding countryside can be enjoyed.

Camden is “where the mountains meet the sea”.

“All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked another way,
And saw three islands in a bay.”
~Edna St. Vincent Millay

It is believed that Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote the poem “Renascence”, while enjoying the view from the summit of Mount Battie.

 

Leaving Camden we drove to Marshall Point Lighthouse, which is located near the fishing village of Port Clyde.

Did you watch the movie “Forest Gump”?  Marshall Point Lighthouse is where Forest Gump concluded his long run.

Marshall Point Lighthouse

Marshall Point Lighthouse

Marshall Point Lighthouse and Keepers House

Marshall Point Lighthouse

There were two lighthouses that we wanted to visit in Rockland: Owls Head Lighthouse and Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse.  We saw Owls Head Lighthouse first.

Owls Head Lighthouse

Owls Head Lighthouse

This last photograph was one of my favorites of the day.

We ate lunch at Rockland Cafe, which Bob’s sister had recommended to us.  It was a good recommendation.  Bob had a chef salad.  I had a chicken salad sandwich and clam chowder.  We had dessert too — blueberry crisp with ice cream for Bob and peanut butter pie for me.

After lunch we drove to Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse. 

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse

The lighthouse is at the end of a 7/8-mile-long breakwater, so visiting requires a nearly two-mile round trip walk.   Bob walked on the breakwater about 3/4 of the way to the lighthouse.  When thunder and lightning started, Bob turned around.  I didn’t walk on the breakwater.  It had recently rained, and I did not have the confidence to walk the uneven rocks that I suspected were slick.  I entertained myself on the shore, while Bob was walking to the lighthouse, by photographing seagulls and talking to people passing by.

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse with Seagull

After talking for a few minutes with a man, his wife and son they decided to walk out to the lighthouse (again).  They attempted to reach the lighthouse earlier, but turned around when it started to rain.  I told them to say hello to Bob, if they saw him on his way back.  He would be the man with the bald head.  I have to laugh again because, when I mentioned the bald head, the man patted his own head and said “like mine”.  Within a couple minutes the man and I had concocted a story to go along with the family saying hello to Bob.

“Hey, wait!  You are Bob, aren’t you?  Hello!

“Do you remember me? We went to high school together at Warren Area High School.”

Does Bob look confused?  He was confused for a few seconds.

This is the point in time, when the truth was told.

What fun that was!

Oh, Look! I didn’t have to walk out the breakwater to get a good picture of the lighthouse. I love my zoom lens!

You can see by looking at the map at the beginning of this post that we didn’t take a direct route back to Pioneer Motel.  We decided to see a bit more of Mid-Coast Maine.  It is a good thing that we had the Garmin GPS with us.   Data was not available on our mobile phones for most of our travels today.

This blog post concludes Day 5 of our 10-day Maine vacation (June 28-July 7, 2019).

– TO BE CONTINUED –

Our Hawaiian Vacation: Two Day Circle Tour (Day 2) – The BIG Surprise

Tuesday morning (Sep. 4) we awakened at 6:00 am, with plans to meet Dorothy in the lobby at 7:15 am. Dorothy told us the previous day that she had something planned for us.  She wouldn’t tell us what “the something” was that she had planned.

Dorothy texted Bob around 7:00 am to ask if we were up. We were up and had been sitting on our balcony enjoying the view and watching the cruise ship come into Hilo.

_LG27907We spent the night at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.  Our room had a balcony that looked out on Hilo Bay.
The concrete foot bridge, seen in this photograph, leads to Coconut Island.

_LG27922We watched from our balcony, as the Pride of America cruise ship entered the Hilo Harbor.

Dorothy came to our room with a couple “biscuits” (cookies) to stave off any hunger pains. As we continued to watch the cruise ship, Dorothy mentioned that for “the something” she had planned that we would not be able to carry a cell phone unless it was secured by a lanyard.  Dorothy also said that I wouldn’t be able to change my camera lens, so I should bring the most versatile lens with me.

This is when I put two and two together, based upon the given evidence:
(1) no cell phones unless secured by a lanyard
(2) the inability to change a camera lens
(3) Dorothy asking if we had packed long sleeve shirts, as we were preparing for this two-day circle tour.  (My reply had been “no”.  Why would we need long sleeve shirts in Hawaii???)
(4) The need for our height and weight.  In an earlier post I mentioned a conversation that Dorothy and I had before we left for Hawaii.  Dorothy wrote that she needed both Bob and my height and weight.  After I provided Dorothy the requested information, she said “Thanks, now you will be better matched for calf wrestling”.  That sure was a strange conversation!

I asked Dorothy if we were going on a helicopter ride. Dorothy’s response was “Yes”.  Our surprise was a helicopter ride!

What a BIG surprise!

We drove to Hilo Airport from the hotel to the Paradise Helicopter Tour counter. Dorothy had booked us on a Doors-off Lava & Rainforests Adventure.  At the tour counter we had to step on a scale.  Maintaining proper weight and balance in a helicopter is important in order to provide guests with a safe, smooth and comfortable experience.  After being checked in, we were directed into a meeting room.  We watched a movie about how to stay safe before, during and after our ride.  The main thing that stayed with me from the video presentation was not to allow anything to fly out of the helicopter.  Doing so could cause the helicopter to crash!  Bob and I, along with 7 other couples (if I remember correctly), were escorted to a waiting area located in front of a fence just off the airfield.  I believe there were four helicopter flights that morning, two couples per helicopter.  We were on the last flight.

Our helicopter ride lasted approximately 45 minutes. We shared the ride with Emily and Ben, a young couple from Florida. Emily moved to Florida from Pennsylvania 6 years ago. Emily and Ben sat in the front, next to the pilot, whose name was Matt. Ben had a window seat. Bob and I sat in the back seats and each had a window … DOORS-OFF remember?  We were strapped in our seats, and for the first 15-20 minutes I didn’t move much. I was really nervous. Bob had a strap at the top of his window, which he held onto the entire flight.  When he left go, after we returned to Hilo Airport, his hand was numb!  My nervousness began to ease about halfway through the flight, when I realized if I sat upright that my communicator wouldn’t blow off my head!   We saw the rainforest, steam rising out of fissures, a little red dot where lava still burned hot, volcano crater that we could see to the bottom, and waterfalls.  Our pilot did an EXCELLENT job narrating our tour.  He was both humorous and informative.

I put together a slideshow of the photographs that I took, while in flight.  Be sure to click full screen for best viewing.  (Full screen is the rightmost icon on the bottom right of the YouTube screen.)

What a super awesome experience!  

 

LJG27994Bob and I, after our helicopter ride, with Matt the pilot

Thank you so much, Dorothy and John.  We cannot thank you enough!  We will NEVER ever forget our very first helicopter ride!

 

We returned to the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, after our helicopter ride.  We checked out and continued Day 2 of our two day circle tour of the island.

-To Be Continued-

 

 

Our Hawaiian Vacation: Two Day Circle Tour (Day 1)

On Labor Day (September 3) we embarked on a two-day circular driving tour of the Island of Hawaii.  John and Dorothy were our tour guides.

We began our journey along the Southern Kona Coast (Rt. 11), leaving home around 9:45 am.  Sixty miles from Kona is South Point, which is the southernmost point of all 50 states.

We arrived at South Point at 11:37 am. It had started to rain during our drive; however, the rain let up and the view improved by the time we arrived at South Point. At South Point we enjoyed the view of the sea cliffs and watched young people jump off a fishing platform into the ocean way below.

_LG27872South Point jumpers

_LG27873South Point jumper

I didn’t capture a video of any jumping; however, an internet search on South Point cliff jumping yielded many videos from which to choose.

I chose this video.

This video shows lots of cliff jumping.  In addition the video provides a geography lesson and a historical perspective.

 

You think that cliff jumping is crazy.  Well, what about jumping into this blowhole?

_LG27869We didn’t see anyone jump into this blowhole, but people do jump into it!

Please feel free to mute the audio, if the music doesn’t appeal to you.  I preferred this video to those that had wind noise in them.

Constant winds blowing at South Point have caused trees to blow over and grow that way.

_LG27878A Wind-Swept Tree

We left South Point around 12:30 pm. We stopped in the town of Na`alehu at the Punalu`u Bake Shop. Na`alehu is the southernmost town in the 50 states. The Panalu`u Bakery is the southernmost bakery in the 50 states. The bakery is situated on a lush four-acre landscaped estate.

20180903_130337Dorothy took this photograph of Bob and me,
as we walked toward the covered pavilion shown in the corner of this picture.

We ate the lunch that Dorothy packed for us and the Malasada donuts (Portuguese donuts) that Bob and I purchased at the bakery, while sitting in the pavilion.

Our next stop, after lunch, was also in Na`alehu.

_LG27880This is an overlook of Whittington Beach Park.

Continuing east from Na`alehu on Highway 11 our last stop was at Punalu`u Beach Park, near the town of Pahala. Punalu`u Beach Park is known for its black sand beach and Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles that frequent this beach.

_LG27890The black sand beach at Punalu`u Beach Park

_LG27892Looking out to sea from beach

_LG27893Two Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles

Behind Punalu`u Beach is a beautiful freshwater pool.

IMG_20180903_140523Bob took this picture of Dorothy and me in front of the pool.

_LG27902Two of the many water lilies in the freshwater pool

We were on our way again at 2:15 pm. From Panalu’u Beach Park we continued eastward on Highway 11, past the entrance to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and over the cracks in the highway. The park was closed due to earthquake damage and volcano eruptions from earlier this year.

We arrived in Hilo around 3:15 pm.  Before going to our hotel, we stopped at Big Island Candies.  Throughout the store there were coffee and delectable treat samples.  The sample that I liked the best was Chocolate Covered Passion Fruit Brownies.

We checked into the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, located on Banyan Drive. Our room had an ocean view, with a balcony.  I will share pictures of the view in my next Hawaiian blog post.

We ate dinner at Cronies Bar & Grill. John, Bob and I ordered burgers and fries; Dorothy ordered soup.

We returned to the hotel a couple hours later. By 8:00 pm I had showered and was ready for bed. Dorothy said to meet her in the lobby at 7:15 am, as she had something planned for us.  She wouldn’t tell us what was planned.

How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck

I spotted this woodchuck across the street from our house this afternoon.

_LG26373 4x6

The woodchuck reminded me of a tongue-twister that I learned, when I was a child.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?  A woodchuck would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

Do you know the origin of this tongue-twister?  I didn’t, so I looked it up.

According to Wikipedia the origin of this tongue-twister is from a 1902 song, “The Woodchuck Song”, written by Robert Hobart Davis for Fay Templeton in the musical, “The Runaways”.  The lyrics became better known,  as a chorus, in a 1904 version of the song written by Theodore Morse, … which was recorded by Ragtime Roberts, in 1904.

 

“The Woodchuck Song”

 

 

Dancing in the Sky

I saw this video shared on a friend’s Facebook page, who shared it from another friend’s page.  “Dancing in the Sky” by Dani and Lizzy has been shared thousands of times on Facebook and YouTube, for just reason.  The words of the song are beautiful and heartfelt.  The vocals are amazing!

“Dancing in the Sky” lyrics

What does it look like in heaven
Is it peaceful and free like they say
Does the sun shine bright forever
Have your fears and your pain gone away

‘Cause here on earth it feels like everything … good is missing, since you left
Here on earth everything is different, there is an emptiness

I hope you’re dancing in the sky
I hope you’re singing with the angels’ choir
I hope the angels, know what they have
I bet it’s nice up in heaven since you arrived

Tell me, what do you do up in heaven
Are your days filled with love and light
Is there music? Is there art and invention
Tell me are you happy and more alive

‘Cause here on earth it feels like everything … good is missing, since you left
Here on earth everything is different, there is an emptiness

I hope you’re dancing in the sky
I hope you’re singing with the angels’ choir
I hope the angels, know what they have
I bet it’s nice up in heaven since you arrived

If you would like to know more about Dani and Lizzy, you may do so by clicking here.

Little Drummer Boy

Pentatonix is an a cappella group from Arlington, TX. These five vocalists present an amazing presentation of the Christmas classic, “Little Drummer Boy”,  in the following video!

Pentatonix competed in NBC’s “The Sing-Off”. “The Sing-Off” is a singing competition for a cappella groups. Pentatonix won the competition in 2011, earning $200,000 and a recording contract with Sony. The official website of Pentatonix may be found by clicking here.

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